Home' Get Up and Go : Winter 2013 Contents Uncovering the charms of
Nice in France, Margaret
Turton discovered a rich
and cultural history.
celebrate 100 years of the tour de france: frame by frame
With 2013 being the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, this year’s race
promises to be one of the most anticipated ever.
To celebrate the Tour de France centenary, a striking photographic exhibition from Paris is touring Sydney and melbourne.
It captures the emotion and evolution of the world’s biggest cycling race from the first event in 1903 - appropriately won by
handlebar moustachioed maurice garin – to the current day. The Tour has been held every year with the exception of WWII years.
This exhibition comprises more than 60 photos – ranging from early black and white images of charming towns thronged with
spectators who had journeyed by horse and cart, to the streaking colour blur of contemporary sprinters. There are famous
faces, including five times Tour winner Bernaud hinault.
This year’s centenary tour will be raced entirely within France, visiting Corsica for the visit time, where the 3360km route
commenced in June. It will culminate, of on the Champs elysees, following a gruelling double ascent of alpes d’huez.
The exhibition ‘Celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour de France’ is at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth (until 14 July) before
moving to melbourne and the Sofitel melbourne on Collins (18 July-31 august). Its visit to australia is sponsored by Le Coq
Sportif, atout France, and SBS. entry is free.
australia is the only country outside of France to stage this exhibition.
In Tender is the Night, the author
of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott
Fitzgerald perfectly describes the
dazzling parties and the glamour of the
French Riviera, a region he obviously
loved. Fitzgerald and other Jazz Age
luminaries arrived in the 1920s, in
summer when moneyed foreign visitors
traditionally moved north to cooler
climes. Wealthy Russians, jolted by the
Bolshevik Revolution, were scarcely
visiting at all. Their onion-domed
monastery on Boulevard du Tzarewitch
in Nice was practically deserted and
the Grand-Duke Michael’s golf course
lay idle. It was precisely at this point
that the Cote d’Azur changed character
forever, switching from winter retreat
to the summertime playground we
Even before the Riviera embraced
the heady days of summer and its
own Jazz Age, artistic types had been
drawn by the French Mediterranean’s
marvellous, clear light. Though
intense, the light is soft, said the
painter Henri Matisse, who lived in
Nice for decades and is buried in the
cemetery of the charming Franciscan
monastery on Cimiez hill.
Romans, under Emperor Augustus,
built their town on this hill, calling
it Cemenelum and making it a
provincial capital. This accounts for
the thermal spa and an amphitheatre
where Romans staged gladiatorial
games, delighting earlier citizens. Now
an annual Jazz Festival is staged there
Between the monastery and Roman
ruins, Musee Matisse sits sweetly in an
ancient olive grove. This red-painted
villa holds a vast range of works: his
oils, engravings, drawings, bronzes
and a collection of personal objects
from the artist’s apartment-studio in
the Hotel Regina at the top end of
Boulevard de Cimiez. Queen Victoria
often stayed at the Regina, avoiding
European winters. It’s now luxury
apartments but easily spotted, looming
beyond a large statue of the queen that
went up out the front in 1912.
At the other end of Boulevard de
Cimiez, a modern building surrounded
by gardens and pools is home to Musee
Marc Chagall. This holds the largest
permanent collection of his works.
It’s not hard to fall for the charms
of Nice. After Paris, it has the highest
number of galleries and museums in
France. The food is fresh and inspiring
and the Old Town is crammed with
restaurants, patisseries and chocolate
shops. Along the Promenade des
Anglais, a boulevard flanked by
swaying palms and the Mediterranean
Sea, you’ll find the iconic Hotel
Negresco where European royalty
rubbed shoulders with celebrities:
Salvador Dali, Louis Armstrong,
and Marlene Dietrich, to name a
few. Well worth visiting, it’s filled
with serious artworks – from Louis
XIV to stark contemporary – and
almost gained an extra treasure when
Richard Burton left Elizabeth Taylor’s
emerald necklace in Bar Le Relais
after retrieving her jewels from the
panorama head to Castle Hill, a
promontory between the Old Town
and Nice Port. Roman Cimiez is
visible in the distance and, to the east,
Place Ile-de-Beaute; a lovely square
opening on to Nice Port. Looking
west, across rooftops and spires of
Old Nice you see Palais de Justice, the
old Town Hall Clock and L’Opera.
Promenade des Anglais snakes its way
along the coast and the huge cupola
of Hotel Negresco is unmistakable.
Beside that stands Musee Massena,
once the winter residence of a prince,
now open to the public and illustrating
momentous occasions in Nice’s history,
including its heyday as a winter retreat
and fledgling summertime resort.
Nice now welcomes post-Fitzgerald
luminaries, including those attending
the Cannes Film Festival, which opened
with Bazz Luhrmann’s version of The
Great Gatsby, returning the Jazz Age
to the Cote d’Azur once again.
Margaret Turton was a guest of Le
Negresco, [@] www.hotel-negresco-
PhoTo: © L’ÉquIPe
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